Thursday, September 12, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #4: Giving Freedom to the Other and Yourself

A basic human emotional need is the need for freedom. In a relationship, freedom for both partners (to be themselves, to pursue interests outside of the relationship or even to just have time alone) is extremely important. It's important that you not only give this to your partner, but that you give yourself freedom as well.

According to freedom is: 
  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
  2. Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government
  3. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
  4. The state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily
  5. The state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing)
  6. The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity
  7. Unrestricted use of something
  8. Familiarity or openness in speech or behavior

Freedom is healthy and needed in any relationship. Giving anything that makes someone feel good and helps them to be well is giving love. Anything else is based on fear. If you aren't able to give freedom it is fear. Are you afraid you will be unhappy if you aren't with that person? Do you not trust them? Are you trying to control what he/she does or who he/she is? 
There are many reasons why it might feel uncomfortable giving complete freedom but understand: any being that feels restricted will avoid the source that causes this restriction. You can attempt to take another's freedom, but all that will do is cause them to feel the need to break free. They will hesitate to come close out of fear of being trapped again.  
On the other hand, if someone can come near you, enjoy your company and be completely free to be himself, pursue another interest etc. whenever he chooses, he will feel free to choose to come near you. They won't feel afraid to come close because they will know that if at any time he/she needs to do something else, he/she can without restrictions. The more free he or she feels, the closer they feel they can come. That freedom is essential to well being. 
It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you can give complete freedom to another, they will want to be with you more. They will feel that they can be themselves. They can be open and honest with you and that they can continue to grow as a person while in a relationship with you. They know that you are okay with whatever it is that they do, they can be an individual. The other feels accepted and approved of as they are, no matter what they are doing. If you've ever experienced this, you know what an amazing feeling it is. Then you can know who they truly are and experience true intimacy with them.
If giving freedom to yourself is the issue, that is also a fear issue. If you've given up your time with your girlfriends, freedom to be yourself, time alone, the freedom to do your hair as you choose, take the job you want etc. this is depriving you of life. There is fear that the other will go away, not approve of you, find someone else etc. It may be that your relationship is the center of your universe right now, and outside interests have become less and less important. 
I'm not suggesting that there is nothing wrong with you. However, if you are giving up your freedom or attempting to restrict your mate's freedom, you are only causing yourself pain. There may or may not be "deeper issues", but it doesn't matter. You don't have to examine the issues for a year, you don't have to go to therapy first or figure anything out. You can choose to give freedom to yourself and the other, in spite of the fact that it may feel uncomfortable at first. Love is a choice and any choice that you make again and again becomes a habit. Make it a habit to give freedom with love.

I know this is probably going to cause adverse reactions in some, however, I think the more freedom in the relationship, the better.  Ask yourself:
  1. Do you give your partner and yourself the power or right to act, speak, or think as he wants without hindrance or restraint?
  2. Do you feel the need to control the other in any way? Do you restrict what you do as if he/she is controlling you?
  3. Does your mate have to do certain things to please you, or not arouse your disapproval? Do you imprison yourself by acting in a way that you think will please or impress others instead of being your authentic self?
  4. Do you allow your mate to come and go as he pleases, without restriction and with your acceptance/approval? 
  5. Do you attempt to convince or manipulate your mate to feel, think or do something? Do you disapprove of him? Do you allow your fear of disapproval to effect your behavior?
  6. Do you feel that you need your partner in order to be happy? Do you attempt to manipulate or convince him that he should want to be with you or that he would be foolish to leave/not marry you/not buy you things etc? 
  7. Do you punish your mate for being himself or pursuing outside interests or are you open and supportive?
  8. Can your partner feel safe to tell you anything and be completely honest with you without fear of being criticized/rejected? Can he trust that you will listen without judgment? Do you share yourself openly?
Choose today to give freedom. After this examination of yourself, now you know where to start. How can you give him and yourself freedom today?

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  1. A truly inspiring and fantastic article x

  2. I love the article. I truly do. But how to give freedom without being a doormat?